Pot 2019-22 is significant because it helps define the limits of Nampeyo’s legacy. This is the smallest pot in the collection by a potter who –as near as I can tell– make two pots in her career.
Janelle is five generations removed from “The Old Lady.” Of her four aunts, two made exceptional pottery and became well-known (Dextra Quotskuyva and Priscilla Namingha), one was a more-typical potter (Lillian Gonzales) and one made almost no pottery at all (Ruth James). Janelle’s mother (Eleanor Lucas) was a fine potter but her output was limited. This same uneven pattern is found in Janelle’s generation. Janelle’s brother, Steve, is one of the finest, creative. and most productive potters at Hopi. Thus being surrounded by a famous family of potters is not necessarily sufficient to incline a person to become a professional potter and gender is no longer an indicator of interest. [All of the people mentioned in this paragraph have pots in this collection. See the Artist List.]
The pot is formed of yellow “sikyatska” clay that fires red. It is polished on the exterior but the inside is left raw, presumably because I can only insert one small finger into the pot and there would be no room for a polishing stone in motion.
An upper framing line encircles the pot. Below the painting consists of two elements, each repeated three times. Attached to framing line are three right triangles with the long side merged with the line, the hypotheses curved and joining the short side to form a point that pulls the eye towards the bottom of the pot.
Between these elements, three traditional Kokopelli Flute Players make music as they bend at his waist in dance. The figures are barely 0.75″ long and yet exhibits extraordinary detail in every rendition. A four-pointed crest crows each head, the eye a unpainted dot. Two parallel arms are bent at the elbow and steady a flute emerging from the mouth. A small waist flairs to a wider skirt from which two distinct legs emerge, bent at the knees and dancing on tiptoes. Overall the figures have great motion and personality and are the product of an artist with talent and confidence of drawing. Enlarged in a photograph, the painting is so exact that the jar would be thought multiple sizes larger than it is.
As noted below, I bought this tiny pot from Charles King of King Galleries, Scottsdale, AZ. When asked about the provenance, he wrote:
“It actually has an interesting provenance to me. It was purchased from Richard Howard around 1982. Bettie Gill was the purchaser and she worked with him in Coolidge AZ. This was before he moved to Santa Fe. There were some in collection with the invoices and others without. The only other piece of hers I’ve seen is the one from Dick Howard in the Schaaf book. Hope that helps. Charles”
As near as can be determined by this tiny pot of clay, Janelle has substantial artistic ability. Other than her kinship, however, I know nothing about her. Perhaps she has found other ways to express her artistic talent or perhaps she found other interests in her life.